A number of sustainable travel campaign groups have written to the Government to express their concerns over plans to remove speed humps as part of efforts to improve air quality.
In the letter to environment secretary Michael Gove, Living Streets, Cycling UK and the Campaign for Better Transport said that the measure is, at best, ‘an expensive diversion from addressing air quality’ and at worst ‘dangerous and retrograde’.
The letter asks the Government to provide evidence that the removal of speed humps would improve air quality, and that any such benefits outweigh possible public health disbenefits due to increased road injuries and fatalities.
Unveiled on 26 July, the Government’s new proposals to tackle air pollution include ending the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040.
Other measures – including changing road layouts to reduce congestion, encouraging uptake of ultra-low emissions vehicles and retrofitting public transport – are also being championed under the new strategy.
Produced by Defra and the Department for Transport, the plan outlines ways in which councils with the worst levels of air pollution at busy road junctions and hotspots could take ‘robust’ action.
When it was first published, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) urged the Government not to overlook safety needs – a sentiment echoed in the letter to Michael Gove.
The letter reads: “We are alarmed by the strategy’s proposals to encourage the removal of traffic calming measures.
“We recognise the relationship between speed control and air pollution, noting that Highways England has recently introduced speed restrictions on the M1 near Sheffield in order to help address air quality problems.
“Removing speed control measures such as speed bumps from local streets would be at best an expensive diversion from addressing air quality and at worst a dangerous and retrograde measure.
“Local councils and the communities they serve have introduced speed control measures to make streets safer, particularly in areas around schools. It is not acceptable to reduce safety in order to improve air quality, nor is it necessary.
“Air pollution hotspots arise from high volumes of traffic on major routes, not traffic calmed neighbourhoods.”